Heed them.

May 29, 2011

What The Hipster?

 Pictured Above: A baton never passed.

I've done a bit of reading on how to define Hipster, and when this sillyness started, and was surprised that I didn't agree with most writers on the topic.

Most of them acknowledge the original use of the term Hipster in the 1940's to mean 'a hip cat who likes hot jazz.' If that were still the definition you could mark me down as one. These were usually blacks, who were then accompanied/co-opted by whites(the term morphed into beatnik and hippie, on and on). Many people write that the same thing happened again between 1999-2003 or so, only this time it was whites co-opting 'white trash' culture. They all point to the trucker hat, tattoos and cheap beer and suppose that the modern Hipster evolved out of that.

That makes no fucking sense. It's a bad accident that Hipster was first used in the jazz age and again to refer to the modern Hipster. There's no connection. Modern Hipsters emulate 'white trash' culture about as much as the emulate any or all other cultures. Most writers mention that Hipsters are creative types, but don't make an obvious connection-

The way I remember it, in the 90's, the new subculture was Raver. In the early 00's there were Art School kids, then Emos, then a brief Hardcore monstrosity. You get it? Ravers thought they were onto onto something with their P.L.U.R. screed and art school makes the most sense if you love drugs. They attend art school and morph into Emo when a few of them are on a bad Ecstacy crash and make some music about it. Hardcore was a sort of aggressive mutant emo/art school/raver that could never have sustained life on earth:

So what the hell is a Hipster?  Look At This Fucking Hipster, and see for yourself. For me this website may as well be called "Look at this fucking confused youth." The truth is the subculture collapsed when it ran out of tattoo space, drugs, and thoughts. Hipsters are what arose out of the rubble.

And what did arise out of the rubble? Snobbishness, nostalgia for stupid time periods, bad writing, some passable art, and meaningless fashion choices. It's about what you'd expect.

It's weird to say it but I think the Ravers were onto something. Their music sucked; but everybody got laid and the drugs were pretty good. It was sort of a bizarre futurist hippie movement. Yet they failed to turn the world onto their drugs, and do the progressive social campaigning the hippies did because well, it was the 1990's and people were just saying no. I know there are still self-identified 'ravers' but the ship has sailed.

The Hipster is the living hangover of that missed opportunity.

May 25, 2011

Humanitarianism From The Bench

 Pictured Above: Required reading.

My gut reaction to this story was FUCK YES. That's only because I'm biased to support a society in which more people are free, and less people are imprisoned; so the release of imprisoned people(by any means) is a wobbly step in the right direction. I've sit and let it stew and I still love this supreme court decision. First, because-

 "A prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilized society," - Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority decision.

Shit. I wish I had adequate medical care, but nevertheless, this statement is a beautiful thing to hear coming from any member of the government. Stepping through the waterboarding-stress-positions-sleep-deprivation-Abu-Ghraib-Guantanamo-Bay minefield, I'm shocked any un-maimed American stood and said 'Hey, let's stop treating people like animals.' Even if it was only 5 out of 4 of them and we were only talking about Americans and illegal Mexican immigrants.

There are those who will always be scaredy-cats. All of the discourse in the media I've seen on this story deals mostly with the the 'threat to public safety.' When the prisoners(whoever they are, and whenever this actually happens) are released, crime will rise. Right? It could, but if releasing prisoners scares you, then why release them ever?

Some people don't want to. These are the 'tough on crime' assholes. Whenever any apologetic opinion or decision on behalf of prisoners is presented on a call-in radio show, you can count on about 5 men with Baltimorese accents to call in, and say something exactly like-

 "Rights? People in prison have no rights, because they violated other people's rights. They've shown they're unfit to live in society."

Okay then, if you really think all of that, why not just shoot every person found guilty in the head? They have no rights, and they're unfit to live in society, right? How about every person who violated the rules of the road has their license revoked and is never allowed on public roads again?

Most people find that approach to be too extreme, because most people can imagine being wrongfully or rightfully imprisoned, or rolling through a stop-sign. So of course, the most intuitively just justice system is soft on soft crime, and hard on hard crime.

Unfortunately, people who think prison is a deterrent or a just punishment have helped institute countless zero tolerance laws.  That's why there's people serving time for shoplifting 3 times, and people serving a mandatory minimum amount of time for posessing a small amount of crack, in California prisons; contributing to their obscene overcrowding.

Which is why this supreme court decision is so great. It only tells California 'this won't fly.' It's humanitarianism from the bench, and nothing more; the rest is left up to our imagination. I imagine the war on drugs had a lot to do with this, how about you?

May 21, 2011

Writing Like There's No Tomorrow

Today is the last day, so the purpose of this is nil. I’ll write to inform. Inform the aliens, the mass of energy, or the time-jumping mysterious goop that will inevitably survive this and come out able to read and comprehend english. I have to assume this will happen; because to imagine an actual end, or a void, is outside of my purview.

 With all things ending in only a matter of hours, I feel ripped off. I feel like I was promised more than this. I don’t believe in destiny, fate or a god, so really I know that I wasn’t promised anything. I still feel like I deserved more than this. Again, since I didn’t earn my existence, I know I didn’t deserve anything. When I reconsider carefully, the universe was ripped off. I was let loose on it, it didn’t consent to my existence. Afterward, I ran around wherever I pleased and sucked pleasure out of it like a leech sucks blood.

Not that I feel guilty; far from it. I feel angry. Angry that I didn’t absorb more happiness and sheer pleasure before. Pragmatically speaking, I should be outside breaking things and making love. Impending doom has a way of mixing things up, so I’m writing instead. Now, with all things ending in only a matter of hours, I feel gratitude. I didn’t earn or deserve my life, so by getting anything at all, I got more than I never asked for.

I wish I could tell that through an intercom to the whole world. In particular the ones yelling at the sky to reconsider, and the one’s in total denial of the end. Clearly, I can’t. If I wrote this 10 years ago, maybe it would have made all of the conscious life on this planet that can understand complicated language called humanity(and possibly dolphins, but we don't know yet, because as John Lilly could tell you ketamine is a hell of a drug) nice and relaxed at this abrupt end. It’s too late. And as Bukowski wrote- there’s nothing worse than too late.

I can’t stay angry at the universe for ending any more than I can stay angry at a person for their suicide. Actually, because the universe is incapable of decision, I can’t stay angry at it any more than I can stay angry at a tree for getting chopped down. Actually, because no one is responsible for this turn of events(or rather the ceasing of the turning of events), I can’t stay angry at it any more than I can stay angry at a person for getting killed by lightning. So instead of anger I feel a little bit of sympathy for it, and a lot more tranquility. Tranquility that, like all things I’ve felt past and present, I don’t deserve.

See you later suckers! I’m gonna dissapear! I love you, and fuck you all!


May 16, 2011

What's Secularism?

It’s often said that religious teachings revolutionized many societies in a positive humanitarian manner. In certain cases they did. Wherein the individual is directly deferred from loyalty to a king, to loyalty to a god, at the very least he has been deffered from  loyalty to a king. Most beliefs in royalty have since been absolved, but loyalty to a god, still puts humanitarian interests second to religious ones.

Religionists have simply replaced their previous KING with a universal one, and find similar complacency in it. They divert personal responsibility to determinism, believing that King/God will take care of any and every person if they have loyalty in him.

So as the religionist of a developed nation swings in his hammock of belief, and the desperate religionist of a hellish nation hides under a blanket of belief, the outraged humanitarian atheists hair is turning white with effort to not only address humanitarian crises but un-convert the religious. He sees with clear vision the evils of religionism- The evils are not in the texts, in the practices, or even the imaginary presence of  a god. The evils are in the mental condition of the religious believer.

A reglionist is  less likely to do the best he can for humanity. This is proven logically and pragmatically in statistics. Even if his religious text teaches the most humanitarian lessons, the believer is still likely to assume that god(being in control of everything), will make sure those ideals are upheld- rather than he the individual. He himself may follow those humanitarian ideals, as if they were directions on baking a cake, rather than because of his own conscience. And he will not require those humanitarian ideals be upheld by others; for god will  punish them for their evil deeds.

On the surface he is loyal to god, but in effect he is only loyal to himself. He feels that the affairs of anyone he doesn’t deal with personally is not his responsibility. What could be less humanitarian than that? In the case of attempts by religionists to improve the human condition, those attempts are always second to attempts to convert the non-believers.

Now let’s get to brass tacks. Atheists in all nations commit far less violent crime than their god-fearing counterparts. Atheists doctors have been found to do more to treat the patients, and if they must, forego their own payment, than religious ones. The reasoning is simple- atheists believe that humanitarianism rests on them and other peoples input alone, whereas religionists feel it is mostly out of their hands.

For every humanitarian crime that may have been prevented by following the teachings of a religion, there is at least a ten-fold multiplicity of crimes which are committed by individuals who believe that god works through them, everything is meant to happen, and through the grace of their loving god they will be forgiven for every evil deed. The atheist has no such safety net. If he hurts a person, he can never be cosmically forgiven.

He is forever guilty. That’s one hell of a deterrent.

May 04, 2011

The Art of Grave Dancing

I have delighted in the deaths of Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan during my lifetime(to name only 2). So I wasn't 'shocked' by the celebration of Osama Bin Laden's death. I was taken aback though, at how universal the celebration was, and the nature of it- It was positively jovial. Then I remembered the crazy dead people Christmas the Central and South Americans(and their diaspora in North America) celebrate.

 The character of Day of the Dead is markedly different. Participants celebrate how their dead loved ones lived, by enjoying the foods and drinks they enjoyed, and offering anecdotes and short poems about their time while alive(and much more). It's considered a happy time; A celebration of life with bad ass candy skulls and Mezcal. The celebration of Bid Laden's death among most was a celebration of his killing- not his death. I expected the reaction to his death to have been more like quiet relief.

I wasn't outraged. How a any person deals with death is trifling. My parents said I was too young, at the age of 11, to attend the funeral of the only grandfather I remember. I only offered to go, because I thought it was expected of me, and was relieved that I didn't have to. I don't intend to go to any funeral in the future. I will grieve in my own way which is, and has always been, quiet contemplation. Others may grieve with celebration, anger, or sadness; but I don't invest any special reverence to death or dying.

Death is not always a bad thing. Many times it's a neutral thing, and it can be a good thing, when it is synonymous with relief . One of the only people to put fourth that idea in popular culture, is one of my heroes, the extremely courageous and ingenious Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

His surreal and awesome 'right to die' campaign from 1987-1999(ending in his imprisonment) challenged the world to consider death as it really is- a stop to life. It's not an end to life. Osama Bin Ladens life ended in a gunfight. His life stopped with a bullet to the head. And however you feel about it is fine.

Dr. Kevorkian is still alive and well and was released from prison in 2007. Death lives. Today I have decided to celebrate his life by mentioning him in this article. When he dies, I will celebrate his life, and those who believe in the 'culture of life' will celebrate his death. Go figure.

Blog posts on Bin Laden's death that are great and inspired this one:

Bin Laden Death+Assorted Mind-Fuckery

Terror Show 

The Celebration of the Killing of Osama Bin Laden 

Go Team!

May 02, 2011

My Generation

[Not written by me. Written by a dude on a roll who wasn'nt trying to write.]
Technology and how things are "supposed" to be done changes at light speed.
The only companies who are major players just release the same product but add a few new features, combining familiarity with innovation.
Apple and Facebook, for example.
But the problem is that something else will come along just as fast as they did, and they will eat those companies alive.
There are people now who you can hire for your business to be "facebook experts". They "know" the ins and outs of facebook and can help get your business on track.
The problem is a few years ago it was myspace.
And before that it was AOL
And a few years from now it will be something else.
By keeping themselves locked in with familiarity, they are handcuffing themselves.
Big companies offer high R&D budgets, but they are nowhere near as nimble and adaptable, which is going to be all the more valuable.
The point is that all things, things that people identify with, are all going to change so fast that people won't think twice about looking back
Because as soon as you look back, you miss the present.
Meaning that people are going to be so into the new thing and the new way of life that looking backward into "the old way" becomes the way we look at myspace now.
Or pokemon cards.
Or saturday morning cartoons.
So I like my generation, because we know what it was like, just before we hit lightspeed; at the information age.